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Old April 21, 2006, 09:55 PM   #1
GatorCountry
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Old Reloading Manuals - Are They Still Useful?

I'm still quite new to reloading - I've cranked out a few hundred rounds of ammo, mostly rifle (though I loaded my first batch of .40 S&W handgun ammo last night). I have an old Hornady reloading manual that I picked up about 10 years ago (4th Edition, published 1994) because I was interested in learning the ballistic performance of various cartridges. Comparing the load data to the data in my new Lee Modern Reloading (2nd Edition) , the Hornady loads are generally hotter overall, even though a lot of the same powders are specified in both manuals.

When a manufacturer revises a manual (I think Hornady is up to the 6th edition now), do they go back and rework the load data that was previously developed in older manuals, or do they just append data for new powder/bullet combos or new cartridges to the existing data? I'd like to try some of the loads in my old Hornady book if they're still safe to use. Thanks!
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Old April 21, 2006, 11:23 PM   #2
Edward429451
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They rework the load data and add new cartridges. Powder formulations change sometimes and they play catchup. Lyman publishes every ten years, not sure about others. I have nine manuals ranging from the 60's to present.

When your looking at older manuals, look to the powder section for the specifics of the powder they're using. Awhile back I was bequeathed 18 lbs of old powder (many cans unopened and good!) from some oldtimers stash and it contained old Dupont 3031, 4895 and a few others, and the old 46th Lyman was invaluable for the loading data which let me safely use the Dupont powder.

Thats not to mention the plethora of good articles & reference material contained in the older manuals which do not appear in subsequent editions!

Yes, old manuals are valuable to keep. Just be sure of what you're looking at as relates to the powder vintage.
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Old April 22, 2006, 08:37 AM   #3
hivel37
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P.O. Ackley's books are loaded with information on loads, cartridges and wildcats past and present, die adjustment, etc.

Reading his work lets us know that the short fat concept ain't new.
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Old April 22, 2006, 08:59 AM   #4
MADISON
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Old Reloading Manuals - Are They Still Useful?

In most cases it is dangerous to use the loading information in the old manuals.
There is information in the older manuals they do not/do not choose to reprint because the companies want to sell you something different...

I use 2400; Unique and; Winchester 231. I checked with SIERRA and HORNADY. They told me their information for "my" powders had not changed. I did bot buy new manuals.
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Old April 22, 2006, 08:59 AM   #5
whitebb
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A old friend of mine and 30yr+ reloader swears by the older books. In todays litigous society, manufactureres put huge safety margins into their data so if you make a mistake you will probably be OK. In the older books of the 60's, they gave loads to the max, and if you f'd up, your problem. Sounds resonable to me. I have some older books, but stick to the newer books. (Speer #13) I also check powder makers websites if possible.
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Old April 22, 2006, 09:24 AM   #6
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Yes. I have many of the small freebie booklets powder mfgs put out for years. Try to find loads in today's manuals for powders like 540, 630, and some of the others long since discontinued (same with surplus powders that don't have any data). But, you still run across those old powders, some of it still in unopened containers, still very usable. Handy to have that old data. As far as comments about the old manuals had better data because of today's lawyers. I think it's more like, we have better testing and measuring techniques than we did a few years ago, and some of the old data may have been a little iffy even then. That said, a good 'handloader' can still use new data and still develop good loads. Also, some powders change over time. New powder should be matched up with new data. Again, a good 'handloader' should be able to work with it. Today, it's certainly alot easier with the internet. sundog
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Old April 22, 2006, 10:10 AM   #7
Edward429451
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In Lyman's 48th it say they do not list the data light for liability purposes and that the loads and pressure given are what they really got with the componants used. I believe them.

Sometimes we hear that people have exceeded the book data max and not KB their gun. But that doesn't mean its really safe. I'd take that data seriously.
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Old April 22, 2006, 10:11 AM   #8
Leftoverdj
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Hang onto those older manuals. They sometimes include information not readily available from other sources. Back in the day, Dupont gave loading data for 4198 for virtually every cartridge, even very unlikely ones. This comes in very handy when you need a reduced load or a cast bullet load.

A number of cartridge have dropped from popularity and from the loading manual. Old data is the only data you are going to get for them. It's still a lot better than no data at all, even if you must go cautiously because of possible powder changes.
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Old April 22, 2006, 10:17 AM   #9
629 shooter
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"I have an old Hornady reloading manual that I picked up about 10 years ago (4th Edition, published 1994) because I was interested in learning the ballistic performance of various cartridges. Comparing the load data to the data in my new Lee Modern Reloading (2nd Edition) , the Hornady loads are generally hotter overall, even though a lot of the same powders are specified in both manuals.

When a manufacturer revises a manual (I think Hornady is up to the 6th edition now), do they go back and rework the load data that was previously developed in older manuals, or do they just append data for new powder/bullet combos or new cartridges to the existing data? I'd like to try some of the loads in my old Hornady book if they're still safe to use. Thanks!"


I have the same manual myself , I still use the data for my 9mm , 38 Special , 357s, and 44 mag in handgun. As well as the rifle data for .223.

There are more powders out these days that would be included in the new 6th Edition. If you think you would like to order one Midsouth Shooters Supply has them on sale for $27.72 for the 2 books. Although they have a minimum $40 or else pay a surcharge. But it is not hard to place at least a $40 order.
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Old April 22, 2006, 08:14 PM   #10
enstorm
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What a coincidence.

Just the other day, as I looked at the letter asking me to join AARP, I asked myself if I'm still useful... Never did get a clear answer.
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Old April 23, 2006, 12:07 AM   #11
SDLAW
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Those old manuals are no good at all. You should just box them up and send them to me...I'll see that they are properly disposed of.
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Old April 24, 2006, 12:18 AM   #12
BILLY D.
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sdlaw

great idea! do i get dibs, please, pretty please.
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